A new species of Albugo parasitic to Arabidopsis thaliana reveals new evolutionary patterns in white blister rusts (Albuginaceae)
The obligate biotrophic lineages of the white blister rusts (Albuginales, Oomycota) are of ancient origin compared to the rather recently evolved downy mildews, and sophisticated mechanisms of biotrophy and a high degree of adaptation diversity are to be expected in these organisms. Speciation in the biotrophic Oomycetes is usually thought to be the consequence of host adaptation or geographic isolation. Here we report the presence of two distinct species of Albugo on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, Albugo candida and Albugo laibachii, the latter being formally described in this manuscript. Both species may occupy the same host within the same environment, but are nevertheless phylogenetically distinct, as inferred from analyses of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences. Different ways of adapting to their host physiology might constitute an important factor of their different niches. Evidence for this can be gained from the completely different host range of the two pathogens. While Albugo candida is a generalist species, consisting of several physiological varieties, which is able to parasitize a great variety of Brassicaceae, Albugo laibachii has not been found on any host other than Arabidopsis thaliana. Therefore, Albugo laibachii belongs to a group of highly specialised species, like the other known specialist species in Albugo s.s., Albugo koreana, Albugo lepidii and Albugo voglmayrii. The comparative investigation of the effector genes and host targets in the generalist and the specialist species may constitute a model system for elucidating the fundamental processes involved in plant pathogen co-adaptation and speciation.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 30 June 2009
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